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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

blocking privatisation « Previous | |Next »
August 28, 2008

The NSW LIberals look to block the Iemma Government's plans to privatise the state's electricity industry. This will force the Premier to back down from the proposal as he does not have support within his own party for privatisation in the lower or upper house. Iemma has been forced to rely on opposition support for the sale after up to 12 lower house Labor MPs and six upper house members, threatened to cross the floor.

MoirCosta.jpg Moir

I wonder what that does for support of the Liberal Party by the business community, which has been a strong supporter of the privatisation? So we have a Liberal Party that does not believe in markets.The Business community must be bewildered. O'Farrell and Stoner, the Nationals leader, had set down five clear criteria for supporting the privatisation. All five have been met. Will the business community abandon the Coalition as a lost cause?

But O'Farrell has decided to vote no and destroy Iemma.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:56 AM | | Comments (15)


The Iemma Government would have to be the worst government in Australia

All eyes are on the upcoming election. At a time like this it's perfectly acceptable for the business community and anybody else to abandon principles. The focus is on getting rid of Iemma. No surprises there.

Where do I find a list of these 5 criteria?

If the Libs expect to win the next election as they probably will, the chances are that they will then sell off the electricity industry. But why would they want to hand their opponents a war chest of billions of dollars from privatisation just before an election?

If O'Farrell is really smart he will agree in principle to privatising but find some unsatisfactory aspect of the proposal to object to. For instance he might insist on straight-out sale rather than leasing, which Iemma would find impossible to accept - but promise to do it properly once he is in government.

I've seen them mentioned before as well but I cannot recall them. I know that the Auditor-General's report, which found "no major issue" with the Government's privatisation plans, was one of the 5. The last one to be meet. Another was probably some sort of regional community impact assessment; another some sort of job guarantee.

The assumption in this debate is that NSW needs extra baseload power and the government cannot afford to build new generation capacity. But they can access extra baseload power from the national grid; and increase energy efficiency until the demand could be met by emerging renewable energy technology. None of this figures in the debate.

NSW needs extra power to meet peak energy during the hot summer afternoons and evenings not base-load power. It is not economical to meet peak energy demand with base-load power.

The real issue for the NSW electricity industry is not a ‘business as usual' future - Costa's assumption--but how to restructure to face the challenge of a carbon-constrained world, and how to engage and protect consumers in this long, complex and costly process.

The protagonists haven't even started debating that yet.

O'Farrell has succeeded in his step. NSW Premier Morris Iemma withdrew the privatisation legislation from a special sitting of parliament earlier today, when it became clear it would be defeated by a combination of the Coalition, Independent and minor party MPs, and Labor renegades.

The decision by Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell to vote down the $10 billion sell-off, announced this morning, ends a year of controversy around the proposal, which has split the Labor Party down the middle.

What now for the Iemma Government? Limps on?

It's probably the end of Costa.He's outlived his usefulness. He retires, no doubt on his pension.

Iemma? His credibility is in tatters. How long can he continue as Premier?

Morris Iemma will sell parts of the state’s electricity assets under a face-saving proposal that does not require Parliament’s approval. The state-owned electricity retailers will be sold, while potential power station development sites would also be offered to the private sector.

In a departure from the original plan, the existing state-owned power generators would remain in NSW hands.

I see that Costa is saying that NSW was now likely to have to rely on a series of peak-demand generators to meet the growing electricity demand:

The cost to the taxpayer is an increase in electricity prices because we'll be introducing peakers [peak-demand power stations], by and large, into the system instead of baseload

You don't need base load power to meet peak demand for airconditioners on a hot summer day. Why not move to solar panels on household roofs to meet the peak demand.

Whoever wrote the post, methinks you are pulling our collective leg. Furthermore, the lack of a nuanced understanding of the concept of participatory democracy is profoundly striking.
80% of New South Welsh people have been against privatisation of electricity and the Iemma government, in spectacularly avoiding seeking a mandate for the policy last election, tacitly admitted as much ( for South Australians, this brings to mind John Olsen's dishonesty and its magnitude, over similar proposals ten years ago under similar circumstances ).
But why are people so against these proposals and their PPP kin, after a generation of them?
Is it because these policies always produce the opposite in the way of benefits promised as the proof of the pudding comes out after implementation?
Or because of all the surreptitiousness as to mates "consultancies", Blockages of FOI, or the employment of Commercial in Confidence to prevent public scrutiny of the nuts and bolts of these invariably shonky deals?

the post was largely about the Liberal Party and its credibility as a free market party amongst its core business base. O'Farrell won't be in any position to privatize electricity generators when he comes to power in the near futureas he will not have the power to overcome union opposition to electricity privatisation.

The core issue is not one about privatisation per se as many in NSW claim. From my green perspective it is about shifting to a lower carbon economy and creating a lower emission form of electricity generation. That can be done by a public corporation or a private one.

" O'Farrell won't be in any position to privatise..". Well, whoo-hoo!
If you like myself, are celebrating this, as I presume you are.
" a lower carbon economy...can be done by a public corporation...or private".
Therefore, why the need for privitisation with all the the inherent risks including as to equitable distribution of pain?
At least while electricity is government controlled, the government remains responsible through a more transparent process, remaining accountable to the public; winners and losers both.
Or is that the problem, by your curious rationale.
Please don't employ greenhouse as an excuse for another erosion of democracy and accountability. That DOES come close to neolib claptrap from someone who full-well knows better.
We had too much of that sort of junk under Howard and with Gunns in Tassie, re removal of carbon sinks to increase both greenhouse gas outputs globally and pollution locally.
Now, back to my latest edition of "Dissent".

you are fighting over an old coal-fired industry in NSW---one that is going to lose asset vale and be increasingly stranded under an emissions trading scheme. It will b increasingly become rust belt stuff if they don't get their geosequestration technology in place fast.

New forms of energy are being built ---solar farms, geothermal and wind around Australia; many by private companies some by public ones eg., the proposed solar farm in ACT. The wind turbines in SA , which are privately owned, are doing alright. The problems there are connecting the windmills to the state electricity grid, which is owned by the SA government and which is not willing to invest in infrastructure.

What is Dissent saying about all this? From memory they only had an article on Garrett's stuff ups around solar power on rooftops and feed in tariffs.

Pitchar 'f a triffic spider cummin out'a tap on t' front, before Ken's essay on water privatisation.
All the money corruptly wasted on privatisation scams (just thinking of the 4 Corners Ticky Fullerton episode a few years ago concerning the tunnels/ freeways scams in NSW in particular but also Victoria), that could have been used on just the infrastructures you speak of, but for this mix of shonkiness and neolib ideological nonsense that has infected the major parties. party.

Increasingly struck by that cartoon. Are folk sure Costa is not being depicted as a sort of life-size aroused phallus wearing a condom, in the representation?